St. Augustine On Christian Politics

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Essay 3
With the rapidly changing political environment of the last few years and decades, Christians are left to wonder what their place or responsibility in politics is. It may be of some comfort to them that this question is far from new. Since its founding during the Roman Empire, Christianity has fallen in and out of favor with the government, and many great thinkers of early Christianity wrote volumes looking for the juncture between religion and politics. Among the greatest and most influential, even today, are St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. By looking back at these theologians’ works, it is possible to find the earliest views and most prevalent views on Christian politics.
Augustine’s work City of God does not lay out a specific
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Natural law is instilled in humans by God, whereas human laws are imposed by rulers (240). Based on its origins, natural law takes priority over the state laws, meaning that one could arguably disregard laws based upon one’s own conscience (243). This is another concept that is visible in politics today. Missionaries break government bans on Bibles based on their conviction to disciple all nations. Conservatives protest or disregard policies that they feel goes against natural law: homosexuality, abortion, etc. Other Christians argue against this behavior on the basis of Romans 13: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except which God has established” (Romans 13:1). Part of being a Christian in the political world is having to find consensus between these two arguments, each individual finding themselves somewhere unique on the…show more content…
The fundamental concept that governs Christian civil behavior is love. It is the foundation of every action and response that Christians should have as it acts as “the basis of man’s relationship was God, and more important still, as the basis of man’s relations with man” (179). Romans 13 calls love the “fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10). The natural outpouring of this is what makes Christian behavior so unique, and perhaps gives a different outlook on political contention. Augustine brings to light another action of Christian citizens: whatever situation one founds themselves in, they should strive to be the be Christian they can be within their setting (196). Augustine uses the example of slavery to make this point (196), though in modern society this illustration seems highly inappropriate. Paul takes a similar approach to slavery in Ephesians, and it is often translated as similar to Augustine’s point (Ephesians
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